Not only does it feel super rewarding to finally learn the cover of your favorite song, it also helps you get more comfortable with new chords, riffs, and transitions between chords and phrases you might not be used to. And the great thing about covering a song is that you can add your own artistic freedom. Maybe extend the chorus, toss in some fresh harmonies, or add cowbell!

Let’s take a look at 5 songs you can -and should- cover along with ridiculous covers of those songs.

1. Hit the Road Jack

This Ray Charles classic is such a wonderful song. It’s simple to play -only four chords- and stays pretty consistent throughout. It is normaly covered as a duet with a man and woman, but you can also consider getting creative and making a vocal line instrumental instead. Check out Casey Abram’s cover of this song above. It’s a classic take, but his insane upright bass skills along with Haley Reinhart’s mad vocals make this a timeless cover.

2. Somebody That I used to Know

I know…I know! It’s been done. But this song has so much potential for cover-ability it’s just crazy. In this video, Walk of The Earth get super creative by having everyone on one guitar. Now, I don’t have that many talented friends…so I’d consider using a loop pedal for this cover. One idea would be to loop the guitar section, then loop in percussion and piano over top.

3. Blackbird
Every guitarist who’s ever taken lessons knows how to play Blackbird. This is sort of where you begin. And it can so easily be covered in a boring, expected way. My advice is to take this song away from its melodic and plucked style and turn the cover into a rhythm-driven strum cover. Also, this song works really well with harmonies. You could even make the harmonies minor at times to contrast the otherwise happy and uplifting tone of the song.

4. Wonderful Tonight

We can’t leave Clapton off this list. With such a talented artist, it’s hard to do a bad cover. Check out the video above. These guys take a reggae spin to this classic Clapton. What this does is separates it from other covers out there as the styling is totally different from what people are used to hearing. Reggae is always a cool approach to covering a song, except for maybe Stairway to Heaven…that might sound terrible.

5. All of Me

John Legend writes some beautiful soul music. If you’ve got the pipes, then you should seriously consider covering this song. It can easily be covered on piano or guitar as the chords are relatively simple. Luciana Zogbi does an amazing cover of this song and the YouTube world agrees (over 14 million views!). I recommend playing with the tempo of this piece as well as adding in harmonies, or using an unconventional instrument. Honestly, a banjo cover would be killer.

Have you covered any of the songs listed? Maybe you’ve got even better suggestions. Let us know!

by John Lombard